Off-duty policeman stabbed chasing wanted murderer named Britain’s bravest officer | UK News

An off-duty constable who was stabbed as he chased a wanted murderer has been named Britain’s bravest police officer.

PC Steven Denniss, 44, was walking his dogs when he spotted the hooded suspect and confronted him. The man attacked the officer and ran off with PC Denniss in pursuit, but then turned, threatened him and stabbed him in the leg with a knife.

The injured officer continued the chase and managed to call for back-up before directing colleagues to the knifeman as he fled across a river in Louth, Lincolnshire.

PC Denniss helped clear the area of bystanders as the suspect was arrested.

The killer, Daniel Boulton, was later jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 40 years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and her nine-year-old son. After his trial, the judge commended the officer for his bravery.

PC Denniss said afterwards he was aware of the manhunt for Boulton and recognised him as he was standing by a bench staring at a woman dog walker.

He said: “I was just doing my job. I protect life and property. That’s what I signed up for. In hindsight, I would have responded in exactly the same way.

“If that woman dog walker had not been there I might have waited, called for a firearms team and drawn him out. But I did not care – he needed to be arrested.

“The fear was it was going to be a protracted investigation and other members of the public would be put at risk by coming into contact with him.

“I thought: ‘I’m going to arrest this man who has committed heinous crimes, killing a young woman and a young boy’.”

PC Denniss was one of 76 officers nominated in the annual Police Bravery Awards, run by the Police Federation of England and Wales which represents the lower ranks.

There were seven regional award winners.

In Leeds, two West Yorkshire officers were called when a man on a late-night bus began swinging a large knife around his head and threatening passengers.

PC Tom Swift and Sgt Mike Watkins
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PC Tom Swift and Sgt Mike Watkins

Sgt Mike Watkins and PC Tom Swift fired their Tasers at him as he refused to drop his weapon and walked towards them, but they barely penetrated the knifeman’s baggy clothes.

When Sgt Watkins drew and then dropped his baton, the suspect picked it up and continued to threaten the officers with both weapons. Even an incapacitant spray failed to stop him.

Eventually the officers managed to rush the man and handcuff him and he was later sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

In a message delivered during the bravery awards dinner and ceremony in London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “These acts of bravery, honoured here today by your colleagues and the public, are outstanding and in the finest traditions of policing. I salute each and every one of the fantastic nominees at the awards. You are truly the best of the very best.

“It is absolutely right and proper that we honour and celebrate the work of our brave men and women in uniform who work day in and day out to protect the public.”

Three Greater Manchester Police officers won a regional award after chasing and catching a man carrying a firearm after they approached a group loitering in the street and heard a gunshot nearby.

A suspect ran off with what looked like a weapon concealed in a bin bag and tried to get into a car, but was left behind by the driver who sped away.

L-R PC Ginger, PC Hamblett and PC Hayes
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(L-R) PC Ginger, PC Hamblett and PC Hayes

PC Jack Ginger and PC Richard Hayes chased him through several streets with PC Jessica Hamblett following in the team’s unmarked patrol car.

The officers finally caught and arrested the man and in a search of the area found a converted blank-firing Retay handgun with a cartridge in the chamber.

Police Federation national chairman Steve Hartshorn said: “Across England and Wales, day in and day out, our police officers are going to extraordinary lengths protecting the public. They go to work every day, never knowing what will be ahead of them. In the face of danger and adversity, they go above and beyond their call of duty to protect all of us.

“Their acts of courage go further than any of us could expect, the bravery shown is truly outstanding. From putting their own lives at risk to save others, facing violent attackers and terrifying weapons, to rescuing people from perilous situations in fast-flowing water or stranded hundreds of feet in the air, they have faced danger head-on.

“They don’t do it for recognition or praise, they will tell you they do it because it’s their job.”

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